Object Name: Girdle buckle
Date: ca. 1703
Dimensions: Overall: 1/4 × 1 3/8 × 1 1/8 in., 10.3 dwt (0.6 × 3.5 × 2.9 cm, 16 g)
Place made: North America, U.S.A., New York
Description: Gold belt buckle with a u-shaped frame; inner crossbar with two prongs and a fish-tail plaque with engraved foliage at front; back of plaque engraved "SARA* ByARD" in roman letters; maker's mark "EB" in rectangular surround stamped on the front of the plaque.
Credit Line: Gift of Robert G. Goelet
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Object Number: 1965.14
Marks: engraved: underside of plaque: "SARA ByARD" in roman letters hallmark stamped in relief: center of plaque: "E B" in roman letters in rectangular surround.
This gold buckle belonged to Sarah Bayard (1683-1739). It may have been presented to her around the time of her marriage in 1703. She would have used the buckle to secure a girdle with a narrow ribbon belt worn around her waist. The circumstances under which Sarah received this elegant gold girdle buckle remain unclear. Scholars have posited that Sarah used her mother's bequest of "£12 in money to make her a silver tankard when she is of age or married" to purchase this gold buckle instead of the silver tankard. However, the use of Sarah's maiden name on the buckle points to a date around or prior to her marriage in 1703. A more likely scenario is that Sarah's future husband or another family member presented her the buckle as an engagement or wedding gift.
Sarah Bayard (1685-1739), who married Abraham Van Gaasbeck Chambers (1679-1759); descent uncertain; acquired by Philip Hammerslough, Hartford, Conn., prior to 1958; acquired by Stephen Ensko, New York City, around 1962; purchased prior to 1965 by Robert G. Goelet, New York City, the donor.
Krohn, Deborah, Peter Miller, and Marybeth De Filippis, eds., "Dutch New York Between East and West: The World of Margrieta van Varick." New York: Bard Graduate Center, New-York Historical Society, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2009, p. 230-1
"Dutch New York Between East and West: The World of Margarita van Varick," Bard Graduate Center, New York, NY, September 18, 2009-January 24, 2010.